Egyptian Finance Minister Ahmed Galal welcomed the agency’s move as an acknowledgment of the efforts made by the transitional government to stabilize the Egyptian economy over the past few months.
The three main sovereign rating agencies—Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch—have cut Egypt’s assessment six times since January 25 revolution three years ago due to the country’s unstable political environment.
In a statement issued Friday, Standard & Poor’s justified its rating by saying that “we expect support from bilateral lenders to continue over the medium term as the Egyptian authorities try to address the country’s political and economic challenges.”
Egypt was also given a “stable” rating outlook by agency due to the considerable aid it has received from the Gulf Arab States, which is expected to weigh against significant external financing pressures.
Egypt has received a total of USD 12 billion in aid from the Gulf states since President Mohamed Mursi was deposed on July 3 this year.
In October, the UAE pledged an additional USD 3.9 billion in aid to Egypt, of which USD 2.9 billion would be allocated to development projects. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have also promised more funds to support development programs in the country.
The new rating has failed to move Egypt out of the “junk” end of the spectrum, however.
Galal also said that Friday’s assessment marks the first time one of the three main international sovereign rating agencies have raised Egypt’s status since the 1990s, when Egypt was first given a sovereign credit rating.